Many people love science and medicine for the exciting stuff: the cutting-edge research, the dramatic diagnoses, the high-tech equipment.
The truth, though, is that medicine actually happens in a much subtler, more incremental way. It’s quiet moments with a patient or busy weeks when we see hundreds of patients but without any "big cases." Real medicine is simpler and less outwardly impressive than people may think.
Similarly, healthcare collaboration is more steak than sizzle. And a recent article about a collaborative institution in Europe reminded me of these fundamentals.
Robert Klaber, MD is a pediatrician who works at the Imperial College Health Care NHS Trust. The organization serves 2 million patients in Northwest London, with a staff of 11,000. He wrote a phenomenal article sharing his experience of collaboration in London -- bold work that is both more commonsensical, simpler, and more impactful than so much of what we read about healthcare collaboration.
As he explains, “If you talk to patients, they will often tell you they receive poor care or their needs aren’t met when they fall between different providers. Support for patients often isn’t joined up, so it’s crucial that we collaborate much more thoughtfully. Unfortunately, the levers in the system still point away from that.”
He sees collaboration as even more than just provider-to-provider conversations. It's also about collaboration with the community they serve. "As we start to move [away] from a model of fixing illness toward one focused on health and wellbeing, our old methods just don’t stack up. We need to learn from the people and parts of society that have been doing more of this than health care."
The common way to think about healthcare collaboration is unidimensional (one specialist speaking to another on videoconferencing) but also tech-heavy and expensive. What I love about this article is that Dr. Klaber is thinking about collaboration in ways that are both more simple and more expansive than people normally do.
Dr. Klaber sees collaboration as creative, dynamic connection that might not need special tools. Just as in our town of Binghamton NY, we did cutting-edge multidisciplinary cranio-facial team meetings (which involved no more complicated technology than a round table and some donuts), Dr. Klaber is doing multidisciplinary team meetings to talk holistically about pediatric cases -- with great and measurable results.
So to me, the question is simply -- what can we envision for creative, multidirectional collaboration? And what are the simplest tools we can use to make that vision become real?
We're so passionate about iClickCare because it's a very affordable and easy-to-use tool that facilitates multidirectional and multidisciplinary collaboration. But other collaboration tools can include a simple conversation, a box of donuts, or a smile.
As Dr. Klaber emphasizes, metrics are important but "It’s more important that we sustainably develop a workforce who has a sense of meaning and purpose, and the skills to do what our patients need us to do... [And] How do we start to deliver outcomes that really matter to patients, and aren’t just a traditional, often hospital-based process that we’ve had in place since Victorian times? Better collaboration could help with all these priorities."
Get inspired with more stores of medical collaboration here: